ancient beads
ancient beads

80. Ancient and Later Beads

'Agates | Cornelians| Mosaic'

A fascinating collection of ancient, medieval and later beads and other items.

Some lovely Roman examples, also some lovely agates, cornelians etc. A few mosaic pieces. Including some curious like a small stone fragment inscribed with a 19thC label, a shell, a partial Romano-Egyptian bronze baubo amulet, etc. Largest bead is 2.7 cms.

Condition: Some losses and general wear as seen in the photos.

Dimensions: Various.

Provenance: Ex. collection: Patrick Joseph Roche, Ireland (1929-2011). Purchased in Cyprus between 1969-1971. Patrick Roche was based at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus between 1969-1971. He served as a pilot in the elite Vulcan bomber unit which was part of Western Europe's nuclear deterrent force during the Cold War era.



Glass beads were first created about 3,500 years ago in Egypt and Mesopotamia, with scholars believing that many bead types found in Egypt were made there. These beads were made from drawn tubes of glass. Instead of pressing these into moulds and then cutting them into individual beads or segmented sections of bead – as would be the norm for Roman production – the tubes have been cut into individual beads - like Roman turquoise blue cylinder beads.

Doughnut shaped and oblong are the most common forms with shades of blue a predominant choice. Faience ‘Melon’ beads which originate in Egypt were highly prized and come in a variety of shades from white to cobalt blue. The most common being a bright aqua blue.

Roman glass beads are ubiquitous and common grave goods, the deceased often being buried with their jewellery.

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